Whenever you go out for a flying session, you’ll need to keep some extra stuff with you to make sure you don’t get grounded too quickly.
There’s really no limit to the amount of stuff you can take, so I’m going to suggest a very basic kit you should absolutely have with you, and then list out some extra stuff you can take along.
What do I carry everything in?
Looks around sheepishly.
I just carry my stuff in an old Jansport backpack I had lying around in the house. There are loads of bags available(including a MultiStar backpack from HobbyKing which is very nice), but really, you can get away with anything as long as it’s roomy enough.
I do however use a HobbyKing transmitter case and my Fat Shark Dominator V3s have their own case, too. So do the lipos.
The transmitter case and goggles case fit rather well on top of one another, and my bag happens to be the perfect size for a snug fit. Lipos and quads can fit right in front pretty comfortably:
I can also fit the goggles and transmitter in the case itself if space is tight:
I don’t do this however because the Taranis antenna is very delicate, and I don’t want to mess with the radio unless I absolutely have to.
Hopefully you can see from this that while a $60+ backpack is really cool(and no doubt functional), if you’d rather spend the $60 on upgrading your quad or on props, you can make do with a regular backpack you have at home.
The HobbyKing transmitter case is a must, though – it makes life a lot easier.
How many quadcopters should I take with me?
The more the merrier, really. I like to have at least two(and at the moment, I only have two) so in case one crashes beyond a field repair, I have something else to fly. It would suck to drive so far out only to get grounded on your first lipo.
What to take with you: basic flying kit
At the very least, this is what you should have with you any time you go flying. It’s what’s in my basic flight bag, too. For the sake of being thorough, I’m going to state the obvious, too:
- FPV goggles
- A battery checker
- Spare FPV antennas
- Spare propellers(three to four sets if DALprops, if you use other props, you can take a lot more)
- An HD camera
- A little toolkit with: spare locknuts, spare m3 bolts(in case a standoff or something gets loose), a set of hex keys, a pair of pliers, a hobby knife(or box cutter), a pair of small sharp scissors(Fiskars are very good), zip ties, and electrical tape.
That’s pretty much it – this is what I carry with me whenever I go for a few flying sessions. I’ve got enough tools to do very basic repairs in case something falls out or something comes loose.
Extra stuff you can take:
A charger and power supply
My flying trips are usually 2-3 hours at the most, so I don’t carry a charger with me. But I know guys who have set up charging stations in the trunks of their cars using an extra car battery, so props to them. The advantage of having a charging setup is you can do a whole day of flying(or more) and keep recharging your batteries every time you run them down.
A laptop and a data cable
If you want to tune your quadcopter on the field or change settings, have a laptop with you so you can hook up your board to the computer and open up Cleanflight or Betaflight configurator. Having a laptop handy makes it easy to troubleshoot any issues right then and there.
Being able to share the FPV experience with people is an awesome part of this hobby. As an FPV pilot, you can be a positive ambassador for the hobby by letting other people experience FPV firsthand. Unfortunately, one pair of goggles isn’t going to cut it. Having an extra pair of goggles or even a screen with a receiver will let you give others the chance to see what you are seeing in real time.
Spare frame parts
If your frame is the kind where all the arms are separate, you can carry extra arms with you, too, so if you break an arm, you can replace it fairly quickly and get back in the air. There are also spare top plates, bottom plates, camera plates, and HD camera mounts you can have with you. HD camera mounts are fairly flimsy if they’ve been 3D printed, so having a few extra with you will ensure you can keep recording.
You may even want to keep an extra set of electronics(motors, escs, video transmitter, receiver, maybe even flight controller) with you in case one of those burns out. Though you probably wouldn’t do this for a regular weekend out, you may want to keep it with you if you are racing competitively.
Soldering iron + power supply
If you are really intense, you can take soldering gear with you, too. You just need a soldering iron that can be powered using a power supply, and you’ll be able to do solder repairs on the field, too.
Extra memory cards
Sometimes, a bad crash can result in your HD camera being tossed off your quadcopter, and your memory card ejecting out of the camera and into the grass where you’ll probably never find it again.
A decently strong magnet
There have been times where I’ve dropped screws and my last propeller nut into the grass, making it nearly impossible to see anymore. Yikes! This one time, I became a human lawnmower just to find the prop nut. In retrospect, it would have been much easier to find it using a magnet.
Note: Magnets will work for steel parts, but not for aluminum parts. Sorry! Science.
I’m going to be adding these very soon to my flying kit. I’ve got access to a fairly sized open ground, but all the trees and obstacles are near the very edges forming a perimeter, so I can’t do much proximity flying. Even a single race gate(or two) can be set up in ways to challenge yourself to learn new skills.
What else do you take with you when you fly? Leave a comment!